Uppsala is a city rich in history, therefore there are many elements that can be taken in account. If you’re planning to visit this lovely city there are at least three things that you can’t miss:
With its 118,7 meters, Uppsala Domkyrka is the tallest church in Scandinavia. Its construction began in the second half of the 13th century, but the twin spires were added only during the course of the 19th century. The Cathedral was built in French Gothic style and hosts famous tombs, like the relics of St. Erik, the King Gustav Vasa or the 18th century scientist Carl Linneaus. I’d say that there aren’t many cathedrals as beautiful as this one. If you wish to visit it, keep in mind that it’s open daily from 8 to 18.
Dating back to the 16th century, the castle is extremely relevant in the history of Sweden and not only for positive things. The castle was, as a matter of fact, the stage of the Sture Murders in 1567 under the kingdom of Erik XIV. The castle was constructed thanks to King Gustav Vasa and was later destroyed by a huge fire in 1702, which damaged even the Cathedral. The castle was later reconstructed, reaching the current appearance in 1740, even though some of the remains of the fire were used to build the royal palace in Stockholm. Today the castle is the site of the Art Museum.
Gamla Uppsala (literally “Old Uppsala”) is a historically rich area a few kilometers away from Uppsala. Its importance is witnessed even by Saxo Grammaticus and Snorri Sturluson, two pillars of Classical Scandinavian culture. Some archaeological remains date back to even more than 4000 years ago, therefore carrying witness of the Nordic Bronze Age. What most characterizes this site is the so-called “kungshögarna” (the royal mounds). These three mounds respectively represent Thor, Odin, and Freyr according to the tradition. Some scholars in the past centuries think that they probably represented three kings of the oldest Scandinavian dynasty: the Ynglings. It was also important from a political point of view since the site hosted the “Ting”, a general assembly.
You can reach Uppsala directly by train from Arlanda or by bus. If you land at Skavsta, then the best option is to get to Stockholm through Flygbuss and then to Uppsala.
I was in Uppsala for three weeks in total but I spent the first two nights at Best Western Hotel. It’s very nice but it was quite improvised since my flight was moved up to two days earlier. So I hadn’t planned to spend the night in a hostel, which in Sweden can be quite expensive. Bear in mind that a night in a hostel starts from at least 200 kr (around 22€) per night per bed in a dormitory. Staying in a hostel for nearly a month could have been hard and way more expensive than renting a student room. It’s way easier to find a student who rents his room during the summer break.
I was lucky because only the first week was raining, while the other two weeks were sunny and hot (for Swedish standard, of course). The temperature never got lower than 17°C and never rose over 25°C. Fun fact: the centigrade scale was invented right in this city by Anders Celsius, after whom it’s named.